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Ask the Artist

Our Artist in Residence, Dina Kowal, answers your questions

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  • May 12, 2021
    Q: Patti asks: "What's a good way to use acrylic craft paints on cards?"

    A: There are so many ways! A really basic way is just to dribble and dot paint onto a piece of cardstock, and then scrape the paint around with an old gift card or other straight-edged tool. Here are 3 tutorials that use the technique, so you can have a starting point to play:
    Scrape Painting
    Acrylic Batik
    Acrylic Stencil Deboss

    May 5, 2021
    Q: Sara wants to know: "Do you have a filing system for paper that makes it easy to see the color family and pull what you want to work with?"

    A: I do! I keep all my cardstock in a filing cabinet, sorted in hanging folders by color family (you can see what that looks like HERE. Scraps (1/4 sheet and smaller) are tucked into DVD sheet protectors (like you'd use to keep DVDs in a binder - do people do this any more?!) and those are easy to sort by color and tuck into the folders as well (HERE is the green one, for an example).

    April 28, 2021
    Q: KSStammper asks: "How do you label your ink pads?"

    A: I cut label sheets into strips that fit on the side of the pad - most of them are about 1/4" wide and 1-1/2" to 2" long. I've found it easiest to put the label onto the ink pad first and then use a blender brush to apply ink to the label - any excess that goes onto the plastic is easily wiped away. The inks I have are easily identifiable by the ink color and shape of the case, so I don't write the name of the color on the side.

    April 21, 2021
    Q: Donnetta asks: "How do you store your slimline dies?"

    A: All my dies are stored on magnet sheets backed with 8.5"x11" medium weight chipboard, then sorted by category in hanging file folders. (I've only got one basic set of slimline rectangle dies and a slimline banner die - I need to see what else is out there!)

    April 14, 2021
    Q: Kim asks: "Is there any way to use regular card stock instead of watercolor paper for watercolor projects?"

    A: Cardstock is usually intended for printing applications where ink needs to dry instantly... I've found that water soaks into the surface too quickly to do any extended water blending or wet-into-wet techniques. It can even leave raised spots on the cardstock after it's dry. Watercolor paper usually has at least some cotton content (I prefer 100% cotton paper). It also is prepared with sizing, a coating of gelatin or starch that helps the paper absorb water more slowly. There is a surface prep medium called watercolor ground that can be used to create a watercolor-ready surface on papers, or even fabrics, wood, plaster, metal, plastic, and glass. It's spread or brushed onto the surface of whatever you want to paint.

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